My experience has taught me that there are three types of people in the world: the materialist, the mystic, and everyone else. The materialist is one whose chief end in life revolves around physical stuff. Money. Career. Sex. Food. Fame. Influence. Power. You get the idea. Materialists are also those who have no awareness and see no use or rational defense for the supernatural, which is mere superstition to them. Mystics, on the other hand, are those who exist at the opposite end of the continuum. All but renouncing any good that might exist in the here and now, they seek a more transcendent reality that exists wholly apart from the material one. It’s not that concerns such as food, sex, and wealth are bad – but it’s just that they’re not really a concern to begin with. That being said, both the pure materialist and the pure mystic are very rare. That leads me to the third type of person: everyone else.
You see, most people realize there’s more to life than physical things. Love, honor, respect, God (or a first cause) are all things we seem to have an innate intuition regarding, but none of those things are physical. For that reason, we know the materialist personality to be an extreme and undesirable one. But at the other end, we know that some physical things, in their proper place, are good. Food is a gift of God, as is sex. We experience these things and know that those who trivialize or even demonize them are somehow in error. So where does that leave most of us? Somewhere in the middle. And often confused about the place of both in our lives. Enter Jesus.
One of the Bible’s central teachings concerns Jesus’ being fully man and fully God. His origin was heavenly; but His ministry was earthly. His wisdom transcended the world; but His words made such transcendence understandable. His essence was divine, but His appearance was human. At the end of the day, Jesus was the only person in human history to illustrate the perfect balance between the material and the mystical. He shows us that we can love and know the Divine, but still live in a world that’s often indifferent to His existence. He shows us there’s value in both – and He shows us how to balance them – intellectually and practically.
As the week begins today, I’m thinking about both worlds. The transcendent, (heaven); and the immanent (earth). There are many things that confuse me about both – and I’m even more confused sometimes about how the two intersect in my own life. But that’s why I follow Jesus. He’s knows everything there is to know about both – and He knows how they’re to meet in me.
If you’re confused about the material, the mystical, or the in between we call “life,” I would encourage you to learn about Jesus, and then get to know Him personally. Your confusion, and mine, has a cure.